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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Celtic spirituality

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Plant Your Own Sacred Grove

My mother’s best friend passed away over the weekend and they had one of those incredible relationships you rarely hear about. They talked every day, mostly on the phone, but also saw each other often. I realized it would be a lovely tribute to my dear mother’s beloved friend to plant a flowering tree she can see to remind her of the gifts of that special bond. I have planted trees for people who passed and confess I even planted one for Michael Jackson which I can see right now out of the window by my writing desk. Michael’s tree is showy and is exploding in bountiful, beautiful purple flowers.

 

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The fairy pools SkyeI was blessed this year to spend the summer solstice on the Isle of Skye, and the powerful eerie and eternal presence of the Black Cuillin mountains surrounded me every day. Known in Gaelic as An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, or the Isle of Mists, this is an Otherwordly place with a distinct feeling to it. Nowhere on earth feels like Skye. Its a place of memory, of spirits.

On the solstice I went on a pilgrimage to the famous Fairy Pools- a series of bright turquoise pools and rushing waterfalls, slicing through the land across a bright green marshy river valley. The source of the water is a vast and deep purple slit or crevasse splitting the massive hillside above from top to bottom with obvious vaginal imagery. This mountains Gaelic name can apparently can no longer be translated, but its powerful feminine presence is unmistakable. The fairy pools are said to have no specific Faery myths attached to them, but their name is well earned. Anyone visiting can feel the unique atmosphere of this beautiful place, and the bright waters, pouring endlessly from the vaginal mountain flanked on either side by immense rocky thighs together with numerous traces of ancestral barrows and possible neolithic rock carvings dotting its landscape strongly suggest this was once a sacred complex, probably honouring the goddess of the mountain. There was one barrow ( an ancient burial mound usually for a chieftain or healer traditionally used for ancestral ritual) which was clearly to be seen, its roof fallen away but its rocky internal structure- small internal 'rooms' off a small central passage- was in the perfect position, by the side of one of the waterfalls to have allowed a view of the Great Goddess and space to enact entrance to Her womb/ tomb, as the ancient priestesses of the site sat in vigil in the barrows sacred darkness, seeking rebirth and vision.      

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Though many Celtic pagans celebrate the new year at Samhain, early January still has a distinct feeling, as the hubbub of the winter solstice and Christmas celebrations subsides and we are left with the blank page of the year ahead. Now is a good time to encourage stillness and contemplation within our days if we are able, and to be aware of keeping our energies clear to allow the wisdom of spirit to emerge into our awareness and maintain our focus on our plans ahead. Traditionally for those who acknowledge the 12 days of Christmas there is an opportunity to seek omens each of the twelve days for guidance in the year ahead, but truly the world of spirit always shows us signs and messages if we open up to their potential. Seeking time every day to find stillness and open ourselves to the natural world around us allows us to receive this messages at any time.

Throughout January spend some time, even for just a few minutes, outside. Be in wild nature if you can, but just feeling the earth beneath your feet, or seeing the sky or having the wind on your face is all you need. Breath deeply and let your senses open gently, focusing on nothing in particular…let yourself remember that the earth is alive and sacred, wherever you are, and just connect. Be with it. Be aware of the flight of birds, the shapes of clouds, the sound the wind makes, know that spirit is speaking to us always, and let their meaning and messages come to you in each its own way. Listen. Breathe. Pay attention to your dreams.  

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

January, if we are lucky and our daily lives allow, can be a time of contemplation, of looking back over the past year, of quietly getting our lives in order, whilst also looking ahead to the summer to come. While the earth seems to sleep, with long nights and cold days, the first new shoots make it above ground and buds on the trees remind us that spring isn't far...but the time of quiet is still here for a while at least. I always find a struggle against natures rhythms is never very productive, and it's better to do what must be done in the modern world and retire to the fireside or get out under wide winter skies as much as possible. January to me is a liminal time, a threshold point and should be honoured as such- neither here nor there, neither the renewal and festivity of winter solstice nor the bright candlelight of Imbolc...it's that in between time when magic can really happen, when things can really change if we catch the moment and steer ourselves a little differently, or weave a new thread into our webs of wyrd.

I think the Celts of the past new this well, and liminal magic seems to be a forgotten skill of theirs. Janus figures, two faced gods named after the Roman god of beginnings and doorways crop up all over the Celtic world and are undoubtedly pre-Roman deities but are often unknown among those following the Celtic path today. Famous examples include  the double-faced horned Iron Age statue ( 4th - 2nd century BCE)  from Holzgerlingen in Germany, the two headed sculpture from Roquepertuse   ( 600-124 BCE) and the two double faced god statues, which are probably Iron age,  from Boa island in Ireland.

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Book Review: The Salmon in the Spring

There are very few books out there that can blow open your mind and your soul, leaving you with an entirely new perception of the world in a deeper, more integrated way. Jason Kirkey's The Salmon in the Spring: The Ecology of Celtic Spirituality is one such book.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Who is Danu?

I ask myself this as I peruse internet articles based on scholarly attention to the tales preserved by Irish monks.  Long geneologies are reeled off of the early Irish residents, some gods, some mortal.  Ireland was inhabited relatively late in human history - perhaps only as little as 9,000 years.  While modern Ireland exported her residents, the earliest inhabitants of Ireland were all 'blow ins' - that nickname given to incomers not indigenous to Ireland. In the earliest days, Ireland had no indigenous population other than the juniper and elk, bear and bilberry.  Recent DNA studies indicate that today's Irish population is closely related to Britons and Scots, with a strong injection to the gene pool from the Iberian peninsula.

So, too, the goddess Danu may not be properly a 'Celt', even as she is venerated as a Celtic deity. She may have originated on the Indian subcontinent and simply moved westward.  It is suggested that her name is echoed in the rivers Danube and Don (one in Russia, another in Yorkshire), but linguists and philogists might dispute any true connection with rivers or Tuatha dé Danaan to Danu at all.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Beannachtaí Féile Imbolg! Beannachtaí Féile Bríde. Blessings of Imbolc! Blessings of Brigid's Feast! At Imbolc we are at the crossroads of the winter, six weeks past winter solstice, six weeks until spring equinox. 

The first days of February have been clear, frosty, but the sun has such a seductive heat in Ireland even in February. They say that weather like this augurs more cold, as the Cailleach is yet to release a vice-like grip on the land.  If it had been overcast and mild then the springtime was come.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Congrats on the book, keep taking those deep breaths, LOL! Just finished leading a public Brid ritual, a few minutes ago. At one
  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    I love that snow pile smile from Spirit/Brigid. One of the other things I did for Brigid yesterday was to visit some St. Brigid's
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oh my goodness, yes, I see how that could be a visit from the Lady. Very special. Thank you for sharing that special moment with m

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